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Occupy Palm Sunday 2018

Palm Sunday, March 25th, 2018
Pave the Way | Abriendo el camino

10:30 a.m.   Worship at St. Luke’s
11:30 a.m.    Light lunch served at St. Luke’s
12:30 p.m.   Occupy Palm Sunday Rally at the Logan Square Eagle Monument

This year marks the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance’s Seventh Annual Occupy Palm Sunday action. We are working with the Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers, along with other community partners, on a campaign to bring a new public mental health center to the Logan Square/Avondale/Hermosa neighborhoods.

On #OccupyPalmSunday 2017, Kenneth and Brian march with signs and palms to a rally in Palmer Square.

Background

The City of Chicago once had 19 public mental health centers, funded by a 1963 federal government bill that prioritized funding to be dispersed by local communities. Later, Mayor Daley fought to have the funding become privatized. By 2004, only 12 of the original 19 centers remained. By 2012, only 6 remained, and here in Logan Square we lost the Northwest Center.

The goal of the Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers is to put a binding referendum on the ballot in communities to raise their own property taxes (approximately $4 on each $1000) for the creation of a new community health center. The new health center would not be dependent on city or state budgets. The money is only overseen by the board which must consist of 9 community residents.

This has already been done successfully twice: in Albany Park in 2008 (called the Kenzie Center), and just last year on the West Side (Garfield Park, North Lawndale and Near West Side). Here’s a Sun-Times article from 2016 about a successful campaign on the West Side. Now the Coalition is focusing on Logan Square/Avondale/Hermosa.

Our goal

Images from Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers

The Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance, along with the Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers and community partners, is working to get a binding referendum on the November 2018 ballot which, if passed, would create a new mental health center serving Logan Square, Avondale, and Hermosa.

The first step in this effort is to educate one another about our campaign, and to identify individuals and organizations that are excited about being involved. That’s where Occupy Palm Sunday comes in. Sunday, March 25th will be a public rally that will serve as the kick-off to LSEA’s ongoing participation in this campaign.

Pave the Way | Abriendo el camino

“Beautiful, Jerusalem and Palms” by Hanna-Cheriyan Varghese

We know that mental health is a crucial part of well-being. Lack of access to adequate and affordable mental health care is a problem for our community. And it is a problem that intersects with many other issues, including racial and economic oppression, domestic violence, homelessness, LGBTQIA+ health disparities, lack of services for immigrant families, trauma and recovery, educational inequity, and more.

The well-being – of individuals and of the whole community – is important to the church. It is important for us because we share God’s vision of abundant life for all people.

On Palm Sunday, the church celebrates Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and Jesus’s journey toward the cross. On the way into town, the people pave the way with coats and branches, ushering Jesus in. Likewise, we commit ourselves to pave the way for well-being in our neighborhood. We wave our palm branches and usher in mental health justice, paving the way with our faith and our commitment to act.

We hope you’ll join us.

If you are passionate about mental health justice, or want to learn more about LSEA’s Occupy Palm Sunday or this particular campaign, talk to Pastoral Resident Erin (erincb@stlukesls.org).

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